|# Excl Vagrants:||307|
|# Near Endemics:||35|
|Habitat: Cloud forest, grass, highland scrub|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
The Tandayapa Valley is at an elevation of 6000-6900 ft on the west slope of the Andes northwest of Quito. The valley is one of the most accessible and widely popular birding destinations in Ecuador. Much of the land is private property, and roadsides are mainly deforested so forest birds are best seen by birding private lands. The best birding is in the protected forest owned by Tandayapa Bird Lodge. The lodge is situation on a ridge above the main road and is accessed by a very steep private drive.
The lodge operates several hummingbird feeders situated around the veranda behind the dining room. The feeders attract a dozen or so hummingbirds typical of the Mindo and Tandayapa area. These include Tawny-bellied Hermit, Brown Violetear, Western Emerald, Andean Emerald, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Buff-tailed Coronet, Brown Inca, Collared Inca, Purple-bibbed Whitetip, Booted Racket-tail, Violet-tailed Sylph, Purple-throated Woodstar, and a variety of mostly less frequent visitors.
Several trails provide access to the forest above the lodge and around the canyon below the lodge veranda. Some trails are strenous in places while others are quite easy. There is uphill walking to reach the forest above the lodge, and the loop trail around the canyon ends at the bottom of the steep drive leading back up to the lodge. Birding along the trails is quite fantastic. Some of the notable species regularly seen include Golden-headed Quetzal, Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Rusty-winged Barbtail, Streak-capped Treehunter, Long-tailed Antbird, Slaty Antwren, Scaled Antpitta, Golden-winged Manakin, Ecuadorian Thrush, Golden-rumped Euphonia, Black-capped Tanager, and White-winged Brush-Finch. The trail around the backside of the canyon leading down to the road is the best place to see the difficult to find endemic Beautiful Jay.
LOCATION OF SITE
The Tandayapa Valley is along the old Nono-Mindo Road northwest of Quito. It's located at higher elevation that Mindo and can be reached from Quito either by the old Nono-Mindo Road or by turning off from the newer main highway leading to the coast near Nanagalita. It can also be reached from Mindo by continuing past Bellavista Forest ReserveEE>, which straddles the ridge between the Tandayapa and Mindo Valleys.
It is downhill from Yanacocha Reserve and covers a variety of birding locations in the Choco Endemic Bio-region.